Archive for the ‘3rd Sunday’ Category

In Praise of Compost 5-1-2022

Friday, April 29th, 2022

As spring warms the earth, the work of the garden begins. And, as every serious gardener knows, compost is not a pile of garbage but life itself.
Gardeners have long realized the secret of the compost pile for nourishing and maintaining a garden of beauty and bounty. In a compost pile, nature transforms our unused, unwanted scraps into nutrient-rich soil. Like the garden itself, the compost heap rests during the cold winter months under the snow, slowly changing in form from a pile of dead leaves and rotting food into humus, nature’s own rich fertilizer.
Yes, it stinks, it generates heat, it’s an ugly pile. But it is one of nature’s most amazing metamorphoses. The brown of dead leaves provides the carbon; the green of fruits and vegetables, as well as the eggshells and coffee grounds, are rich in nitrogen. Bacteria and fungi, earthworms and insects break the material down. Rain, air, time and temperature transform the worthless and unwanted into the richest of soil for the most bountiful of harvests.
In this Easter springtime, composting can be more than a gardening miracle but a living parable of the transformation we can affect in our own lives. In God’s time, with God’s grace, we can transform the “scraps”, the hurts, the disappointments of our lives into a rich “humus” in which the life and love of God can take root and flourish. The Easter Jesus shows us that change is always possible, that we can always begin again and again and again. Like good composting, such transformation demands the hard work of surrendering our brokenness, our insensitivity, our stubbornness, our self-absorption, and placing it all in the “pile”, then trusting God to work his miracle of transformation. The compost pile teaches us to embrace life, to reject nothing, to be open to mystery, to become what God desires of us all: to be humus, to be human.

A Torn Coat 3-20-2022

Friday, March 4th, 2022

Many years ago, in the days of the desert hermits, a soldier approached a humble monk named Milos. The soldier asked the monk whether God could forgive a sinner.
“Tell me,” Milos asked, “if your cloak was torn, would you throw it away?”
“Oh, no,” the soldier replied. “I would mend it and wear it again.”
“Well,” Abbot Milos responded, “if you care for the cloak, will God not show mercy on his own creature?”
The parable of the fig tree has been called the “Gospel of the second chance.” The gardener pleads on behalf of the tree, asking that it be given another year to bear fruit. We always live in the hope and mercy of God who keeps giving us “second chances” to rise from the ashes of sin to rebuild and re-create our lives. God’s love knows neither limits nor conditions; since the calls of Abraham and Moses, God continues to call his people back to him, despite their – and our – unfaithfulness and obtuseness. The only adequate response we can make to such spendthrift forgiveness from our God is be as forgiving of one another and as supportive as we can be to those souls struggling to mend their second, third or however many other “torn coats.”

Are We Ready to Let God Empower Us? 1-23-2022

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

In a book called, If I Were in Charge of the World and Other
Worries, the reader is invited to see the world through the eyes of a five
or six year old little boy.
If I were in charge of the world, he says: “I’d cancel oatmeal! I’d
cancel allergy shots! I’d cancel Monday mornings.”
If I were in charge of the world, he says: “There’d be brighter
night lights, healthier hamsters and basketball baskets forty-eight inches
lower.”
If I were in charge of the world, “you wouldn’t have lonely, you
wouldn’t have bedtimes, or ‘Don’t punch your sister!’ You wouldn’t
even have sisters.”
If I were in charge of the world, a chocolate sundae with whipped
cream and nuts would be a vegetable, and a person who sometimes
forgot to brush, and sometimes forgot to flush would still be in charge of
the world!
Question: What would you do if you were in charge of the world? Jesus gives His answer in today’s Gospel lesson. Luke tells us that
Jesus, “With the power of the Spirit in Him,” went into the synagogue,
as He usually did on the Sabbath Day, and read this passage from the
Old Testament Book of Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for He has anointed me. He has sent me to bring
Good News to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor!”
What do we proclaim to this world – we who call ourselves
Catholic Christians? What do we proclaim with our words – with how
we live our everyday lives.
I have people all the time say, what a sorry state our world is in
today.
My response:
We can’t put the blame on Christ and Christianity. We have to
blame ourselves in part, especially if we are merely card-carrying Christians – that is, Christians who claim to believe in Christ, but are uncommitted to his causes.
G.K. Chesterton was right when he said: “Christianity has not
been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
So it is not enough to be moved emotionally by Christ’s inaugural
speech today; we have to do something about it. We have to seek out
the oppressed and outcasts and support their quest for justice. We have
to reach out to the unwanted and unloved and reaffirm their dignity. We
have to listen to the cries of the wounded and poor and lift them up with
compassion.
If we don’t believe in Christ’s causes, then we shouldn’t stand up
and recite the Creed. But if we do believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, and if
we believe in committing ourselves to him, then we should stand up with
conviction and courage and proclaim the Creed! Then go live it as best
we can.
I close with this image –
A boy and girl returned to the girl’s home after their first date.
Standing at the front door, the boy asked, nervously, “May I kiss you?” No reply. Again he asked, “Can I kiss you?” No reply. A third time, “Can I kiss you?” Still no reply. “Are you deaf?” said the boy. “Are
you paralyzed? The girl replied.
Are we ready to let God empower us to do what we need to do to
be one of God’s servants today or as the young girl asked, are we
paralyzed?